James Milner says hard work and avoiding alcohol are the reasons he has had such a long career in the Premier League.
- Milner made Premier League debut 20 years ago
- Midfielder still plays regularly for Liverpool
- Says hard work and commitment key to long career
WHAT HAPPENED? It has been 20 years since the midfielder made his Premier League debut for Leeds. After spells at Newcastle and Aston Villa, he went on to successful periods with Manchester City and Liverpool. But the England international says that his hard work and refusal to drink alcohol has been looked down upon by his fellow players at times.
WHAT THEY SAID: He told Irish Examiner: “You are just learning at that age and thinking: ‘What can I do to be the best?’ Alcohol is not the best thing for you? Right, I won’t do that. After training I’d practise corners and free-kicks rather than playing on the PlayStation. That obviously changes. After training every day five years ago I would have been doing shooting and my finishing was fantastic. When you get older you can’t be hitting balls every day after training, so you have to develop. I will do yoga tonight when I get home.
“It is probably the worst saying in football when you are coming through – ‘You are busy, you’ or ‘You busy bastard’. It is not, is it? It is doing your job to the best of your ability and getting the most out of it. It is the norm now. Every single player in that dressing room is in the gym before training now doing their own stuff. Back then, or even at some other clubs now, you might get five to 10 lads in whereas here it is 25. And that is why the lads are at the level they are.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Milner has won three Premier League titles – two with City and one at Liverpool – during his career, as well as an FA Cup crown with both teams. He has also lifted the Champions League trophy with the Reds and finished runner-up on two more occasions.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
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WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? Milner will not be able to feature for the Reds in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham as he sustained an injury during a Champions League match against Napoli in midweek.